By Chesney Hearst, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In anticipation of this year’s Carnival celebrations, Rio de Janeiro’s historic Theatro Municipal is hosting specially-themed guided tours that explore the history of Carnival in the city since the end of the 19th century.
Theatro Municipal’s guided tours are part of the venue’s regular programming, taking place on Tuesdays through Saturdays in both the morning and evening. The Carnival-themed tours began on February 2nd, continued on the 3rd, and will end on the 4th.
The special tour starts in Theatro Municipal’s Salão Assyrio and moves through the Foyer do Balcão Nobre, a space that houses that piano of Chiquinha Gonzaga, a Brazilian composer, pianist and conductor that composed many well-known Carnival works including works “Ó Abre Alas.”
The tour then makes it way to the Varanda Rio Branco, where visitors learn about early celebrations and parades including the “Cordões” and blocos like Cordão da Bola Preta, which held its first procession in 1918 and grew to become the city’s current biggest bloco celebration.
Next, in the Theatro Municipal’s concert hall visitors learn about the gala balls held between the 1950s and mid-1970s. Finally the tour makes its way outside to the Boulevard da Avenida Treze de Maio, where visitors are encouraged to throw confetti and streamers while singing the marchinhas (samba marches) they’ve learned during the tour.
During the tour visitors are lead by Jefferson Medeiros, a guide portraying the character João do Rio, the pseudonym of Brazilian author and journalist Paulo Barreto. “Here we have a very rich center for documentation and to me, this process of research is very enriching,”
Medeiros, who holds a degree in History from Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (Uerj), told Agência Brasil. “It’s very important to pass these memories on, with a critical view, to the theater’s visitors. This is the role of the educator.”
For more information about the tour, see the Theatro Municipal website or call (21) 2332-9191.
What: Theatro Municipal Carnival History Tour
When: February 2nd, 3rd, and 4th
Where: Theatro Municipal do Rio de Janeiro, Praça Floriano s/n° – Centro
Entrance: R$10 – R$20